Like most Australian households, I would classify ours as chaotic at the best of times. Two young children, parents that work full-time, and a dog in desperate need of obedience training – time is so poor in our home, it needs handouts.
Consequently, the adults in the house are fervent devotees of coffee, both for the enjoyment the delicious beverage delivers and as a reviving tonic when a second pair of hands is needed. Long-term café regulars, we’ve been forced to rethink our coffee regime in 2020, opting to bring it in-house. Dreams of owning a manual coffee machine, like the idea of reading a book in a hammock or taking up a hobby, have been shelved until the children start ignoring us in their teenage years. The answer came from Nespresso and its Vertuo Next capsule machine, which we arranged to review for this feature. In a true case of you don’t think you need it until you do, having the Vertuo Next on the benchtop whilst balancing work with home and day care schooling has been an inspiration.
At only 140mm (5.5 inches in old money) wide, the machine takes up very little real estate on the bench. It’s stylishly designed with the 1.1-litre water tank – enough for about four large mugs of the good stuff – positioned at the rear. A drip tray has three positions to cater for an espresso shot to a big cup. Loading it is easy: lift up the lid, drop in a capsule (these are only available online), close and secure with a clip and with the press of a single button, the party is ready to start.
“Dreams of owning a manual coffee machine, like the idea of reading a book in a hammock or taking up a hobby, have been shelved until the children start ignoring us in their teenage years.”
There’s some cool tech at play here. On each capsule is a barcode that relays to the machine how the coffee needs to be prepared. The machine spins the capsule at very high speed to extract the coffee in an alluring stream of creamy liquid. Once finished, the capsule is dispensed straight into a removable bin fitted within the body of the machine. Connectivity through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth monitors the amount of capsules you are using, sending an alert when you’re running low!
The Vertuo does come with a sampling pack, arranged like a chocolate selection box, to aid in picking your first order. The coffee itself is seriously good. Rich and velvety, there wasn’t one pick in the box we didn’t like, and that included the strong flavoured ones. For milk drinkers, the yin to the Vertuo’s yang is the Aeroccino. Shaped like a small thermos, pour cold milk to the designated level, press the button, and in just under a minute you have the perfect 50/50 blend of warmed milk and ideal froth.
The aluminium capsules can be recycled at many different locations within your local community. Since 2009, Nespresso has reduced its carbon footprint by 20 per cent with the aim of reducing it further. So far the company has planted 3.5 million trees to compensate for its operational carbon footprint.
Occasionally in life you stumble across something through atypical circumstances that you wonder how you got by without, and this is certainly the case with the Vertuo Next. It’s compact, easy to use and maintain, and it delivers some of the best coffee I’ve tasted outside of a café. If you’re short on time but don’t want to skimp on quality, this is a great way to get your daily brew.